I realize this isn’t the most popular opinion, but I hold it unwaveringly and nobody can convince me otherwise. Fall is my favorite season (sorry summer lovers)! As a mother of three elementary and middle school kiddos, fall is a time to celebrate. Everyone is back in school and our routines are as established as they ever will be. The air is crisp. The leaves are changing; fall is a beautiful thing. As I write this I have a pumpkin chai candle burning and a vase full of fall colored flowers. Overboard? Maybe. But I do it all in anticipation for the best part of the season: Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is a holiday without the distractions of gifts or elaborate decorations. We literally sit around with our family and take a few precious moments to contemplate what we are grateful for. Gratitude makes us stop thinking about what is wrong or insufficient in our lives and allows us to focus on what is right and fulfilling. Could you imagine what our lives would look like if we choose to live every day with gratitude? What would happen if we focused daily on the sufficiency of our relationships, finances and ourselves instead of our insufficiencies? That’s what gratitude does for us. I bet we all want to live with more gratitude every day. So, why don’t we?
Whenever I’m short on gratitude I’m also short on something else. Any guesses? It’s a state where I don’t think anything is enough. Life isn’t fulfilling enough. I’m not skinny enough. My husband isn’t doing enough. The house isn’t clean enough. Work isn’t producing enough. ENOUGH!!! I’m lacking contentment. The Bible knows what it’s talking about when it instructs us:
“True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So, if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.”
1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT)
If we live in a state of godliness with contentment our mentality shifts, and even though we may not have more of anything, what we have will be enough. This is why having those two things make us very wealthy. Godliness with contentment. Godliness convinces us that we are enough and contentment convinces us that what we have is enough.
Do you consider yourself godly? Why or why not? Did you perform godly acts yesterday so you’re feeling especially godly today? Or did you yell at your coworkers, kids and best friend all in one day yesterday so there’s no way you could be godly today? Here is what I learned that changed my life when I desperately needed it. My godliness isn’t based at all on my actions or performance. I am godly simply because I have chosen to believe in Jesus and His righteousness. The Bible says, “For He made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV). Jesus took all our wrong upon Himself and gave us all His rightness, perfection, and godliness. I cannot do a single thing to become more godly, because I can’t become anymore godly than Jesus already made me.
I desperately needed this nine years ago when I was feeling completely inadequate. My husband Judah and I had been working as the youth pastors at the church his parents had founded and were leading. After Judah’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was no longer able to lead the church, Judah’s parents asked us to step in as Lead Pastors. I honestly didn’t think I could do it! I had two young boys and was pregnant with our baby girl. I had been used to leading teenagers but adults scared me. I was intimidated and felt completely unable to handle that weight of responsibility. Looking in the mirror and telling myself I was qualified didn’t help. Telling myself I could do it didn’t help. The realization that I am complete and enough through Jesus was the only thing that enabled me to know that what I am is enough. We are enough because Jesus has made us enough. He made us godly. We are enough.
Once we believe we are enough, it’s easy to be content that what we have is enough. Sure, we may not have as much as we want to have, or as much as our friend has, but once we realize we are enough we no longer need those things to make us feel adequate. As 1 Timothy says, if we have food and clothing, let it be enough. A lot of days we have to fight for this mentality and remind ourselves of it. But if we enter this month truly content, gratitude will easily follow.
ABOUT CHELSEA SMITH
Chelsea Smith is the co-lead pastor of Churchome, formerly The City Church, in Seattle, Washington. She and her husband, Judah Smith, lead a thriving multi-site congregation with campuses throughout the greater Seattle area, Beverly Hills and Guadalajara, Mexico. She is a gifted leader and speaker who is passionate about showing the world who Jesus is. Her ministry is noted for down-to-earth wisdom, authenticity, humor, and strong faith. Judah and Chelsea have three children: Zion, Eliott, and Grace.Follow Chelsea